My Top 5 Highlights from South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal
South Africa is nearly twice the size of Texas and ranks as the 25th largest country by land area, yet many US travelers stick exclusively to visiting a few pockets of the country like Kruger National Park or the Western Cape. This leaves a great many regions of the country wide open for exploration. KwaZulu Natal or KZN (pronounced Kay-Zed-En) is one of these hidden gems. To most of us traveling from the US, KZN typically takes a back seat as our safari expectations revolve around getting in a game drive vehicle and immediately hitting a welcoming committee of elephants, giraffe, zebra, antelope and big cats and in South Africa, Kruger is synonymous with massive herds of grazing animals and the predators that complete that ecosystem. KZN is an entirely different experience and one that I would argue is wilder.
Spend a couple of days on safari in KZN and you will absolutely see the iconic safari animals you’ve traveled so far to witness, including the big 5. The difference is that you and your guides actually need to search through the bush to locate these sightings. On my recent trip to visit KZN I found that I absolutely loved this aspect of the game drives. Among the rolling hills, steep mountains, thickets and trees, each encounter becomes a surprise. I spent four days visiting 4 different lodges along the KZN coastal region, from Durban north to Lake Jozini, which is situated on the Phongolo River and is South Africa’s largest dam. While I had many amazing experiences and stayed at some incredible locations, I thought I would give you my “Top 5 Experiences from KZN.” Not everyone will have the same experiences or see the same sights or even stay at the same lodges but here is my short list of awesome reasons to visit KZN.